By: Stoecker, Charles ; Hampton, Lee M. ; Link-Gelles, Ruth
Removing the third dose from the four-dose series of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13) vaccine may promote cost savings but might also result in a moderate increase in pneumococcal disease, researchers suggest. The PCV13 vaccine is effective in preventing pneumococcal disease, but it is also the most expensive vaccine on the recommended U.S. pediatric schedule. Researchers used a model following a single birth cohort of 4.3 million to calculate societal cost savings and increased disease burden by removing the six-month dose of PCV13. The results showed that removing the third dose of PCV13 would save $500 million annually (in 2011 dollars), but it would also lead to an estimated 2.5 additional deaths among inpatients with pneumonia or invasive pneumococcal disease. In addition, the estimates suggest that removing this dose would result in 261,000 estimated otitis media cases and 12,000 estimated pneumonia cases annually. However, the researchers note, the additional illnesses may be prevented by a modest increase in vaccine coverage.